Toronto is the next Silicon Valley, eh?

Toronto is emerging as a tech hub due to its universities, corporate offices, and worker-friendly immigration policy.

Miami and Austin have each been hyped as the next Silicon Valley — sunny hubs where people can work from the pool or beach.

But data suggests a city along the frozen shores of Lake Ontario has them beat.

Per The New York Times, Toronto is growing faster than both cities, and now hosts the 3rd-largest tech hub in North America, behind New York and Silicon Valley.

How did it get there?

While you might think workers are flocking to Toronto to try to hang out with Drake, the city’s rise is actually rooted in its infrastructure:

  • Universities: The University of Toronto and the University of Waterloo are known for churning out top talent in research and engineering
  • Corporate “anchors”: Tech giants with offices in the city have helped establish it as a hub, including Canada’s own Shopify, Google, Apple, Stripe, and yours truly

This combination of academia and Big Tech has fostered innovative collaborations, including Uber’s self-driving car lab and Google’s “neural networks” lab — both in partnership with University of Toronto professors.

Another reason for Toronto’s emergence?

Immigration policy

Canada’s immigration policy favors economic immigrants (AKA people selected because they can contribute to Canada’s economy), making it easier for workers to immigrate to Canada than the US, where immigration policy prioritizes family reunification.

This has helped fuel a 5.2% increase in Canada’s population from 2016 to 2021, 2x that of the US.

It’s also helped make Toronto a truly international city with ~50% of its residents born outside the country.

Toronto has a long way to go…

… to catch the real Silicon Valley. Between 2021 and 2022, Toronto startups garnered $5.4B in investments compared to $132B for startups based in Silicon Valley.

But if you’re already packing your bags, ready to head north, don’t forget your winter jacket. It could get chilly up there, eh?

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